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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Plemohoe

The word “plemohoe” presumably derives from the Greek πίμπλημι (- I fill) and χοή (- I pour out).A Plemohoe is a wide vessel with curved outer lines and lid. It stands on a broad central foot that starts from a flat disklike base. It first appeared in Greek pottery (mainly in Attica and Boeotia) in the late seventh century B.C. and remained in use until the early fourth century B.C. It belongs to the group of exaleiptron pottery along with the kothon and the tripod pyxis- their common characteristics are the incurving lip as well as their function which is related to beauty. Although the use of plemohoe has not as yet been ascertained, Beazley has recognised two types of plemohoe, according to the form of the foot. Its decoration was simple consisting only of a minor decorum or a glazed surface. It was probably intended to contain liquid beauty products such as scent, unguent e.t.c. and was associated in Athens with marriage and funerary rituals. According to Athenaeus, the plemohoe was used in Eleusis on the last day of the mysteries.

Plemohoe has remained one of the most enigmatic vessels of antiquity due to the scarcity of relevant information in ancient sources and to its sudden disappearance from the repertoire of pottery.